[EDITORIALS]Alternative gets the okayAlthough arriving belatedly, the government decision to recognize the curriculum of alternative schools for dropouts as the same as that of regular schools is welcome.
On this occasion, we would like to encourage the government, society as a whole and families to make more effort to provide education for dropouts who failed to adapt to public education.
According to Ministry of Education and Human Resources statistics, some 60,000 to 70,000 students drop out of secondary schools each year. Five percent of vocational school students eventually drop out. According to experts, 450,000 to 600,000 Koreans have dropped out of school, never to return.
The reason we have so many dropouts has to do with the reason they leave formal education in the first place. In the past, dropouts were mainly unruly students or those trapped in a bad family environment. The profile of such students has changed, with a large number of dropouts now leaving school due to academic problems, dissatisfaction over the future of education or the school's curriculum.
Distrust of formal education is so deep that a common complaint is that "School education is not compulsory but elective."
The dropouts, even when they have a clear idea of their future, suffer from feelings of alienation and experience emotional drift. They are given a cold shoulder by society and few welfare facilities can accommodate them. Therefore, many stray from the right path.
Alternative schools are vital for dropout students. They provide a feeling of affiliation and offer a variety of education courses. However, only 14 schools were recognized by the Ministry of Education as such. Others supported by private organizations were not recognized by the government.
The ministry's deicision will encourage such private organizations. It is more desirable that the mainstream schools provide the creative and student-oriented education that is provided by alternative schools.
It is advised that schools which promote alternative curriculum within their schools expand the program as an alternative to alternative schools.